tv A Nation Remembers ABC May 29, 2011 4:30pm-5:30pm EDT
>> this is the heartf the pentagon, in whington, d.c. sincnce the early year of world w war ii, this building has s been the he of america's department of defse. it's one of the largest office buildings in the worl about 23,000 people co here to work every day. a good many of them are not even members of our armed forces-- many are civilian employees from all walksf life. all of them, though, are mothers and fathers, brothersnd sisters, sons and daughters. the men d women who travelel these hal every day come here fofor one purpose onl: to help defend our nation d the cause of freedom around the world. it's been that way for nearly 70 years. the e story you're about to hear today is a sto i hope will rea every american, because it's really a story about america, about ordinary american
families, about how we face the perils, uncertainties, and tragedies of life, and d about how we, as individuals and a nation, come together to heal the wounds of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all that we hold dear. it's a story of reflection, remembrance, and renewal. it's also a story about hope for the future. >> and i remember--you know, some days my wife would be sitting here, and just the fact that her presence-- that's all i wanted, was just her presence. didn't have to say anything the fact that knew that she s there and d i was over hehere, at's all i cared about. nothing else. that inew that she was here. >> the other two came home, and i made sure they got some good food, you know, stuffed 'em
as much as i could, with anything they'd eat, figuring that they wouldn't be eating a lot for a while. and, um... then told 'em. and i will never forget that day. especially my youngest. brady just looked dazed. but you could just see keselsey change... it was likthe light in her eyes just left. and i've never heard a child... cry...like that before. >> it was... i think it was the worst day of my life. anand i'm hoping that-- that they will use... the way jan, uh... ( choking up )... jan lived...
...as a a model to bring up their children. narrator: on a plot of land in arlington, virginia, overlooking our nation's capitatal, the grass is growing again. trees have been planted that bloom in newness of life ea sprg. the wall has been rebuilt. as if in s silent honor, for the briefest of moments each evening, the setting sun itself pays tribute with a golden light pouring forth on what is now hallowed ground foall of america. rosery dlard: we wanted some way to ensure that all of t victims murdered
that day... they wernever forgten. >> in the night sky, the radiance of 184 illunatons of rememance shimmer r in thehe darknkness in honoror of 184 men,n, women and chilildren whe lives werere extinguished in an instant on a hauntingly beautiful fall morning. >> the last six, seven years have been absolutely surreal. in one minute,t seems like it was in another lifetime... when michele was here. in another minute, it seems like it was just 30 seconds ago. >> seven years l later thousands of america come together to join hands with the wives, the husbands,
the children and the andchildren, the parents and the grandpents, of the 184 who perished that dayay. fofor on t this day, from the ashes of death and destruion, a livingemorial has arisen to not only markne of the most tragic even in all of ameran history, but to stand eternally in honor and remembrance of those who paid soear a price for our freedom, and their courageous famililies who carry on theheir legacy. this is the pentagon memorial, america's first national morial to thohose who died september 11, 2001. while it stands in rembrance ofof all t those who lost their lives that tragic mornining, it also stands in living testament to their families who, year after year, are bravely and quietly
>> narrator: there are over 160 monuments and memorials in o nation's capital, dating back to the founding of america. some honor a select few men and women who shaped our country and helped define who we are as a nation today... generals, political leaders, poets, statesmen, and scientists who changed the course of american history. so raised the hopess and aspiration of natioion unue in all the world. others set forth the values and ideals on which our republic was based,
and to which we would aspire for generationons to c come. still others honor dinary americans who, ththrough their r courage, dedication, and commitment, made extraordinary contributions to america and the caususe of freedom around the world. many left their families anand serity of home to unselfishly answer the call needed them momost, and fought and dieied foall that we hold dear today. virtually all span the great history of america, commemorating events and individuals of our distant past. one, however, isnique among all the rest, for it repsents the defining moment for this generation of americans. >> years from now,
i hope they understand that what happened on that terrible day, that an enemy came with airplanes full of innocent people to kill americans in order for us to abandon ouour great desire to help others realize the blessings of liberty. >> i hosted a breakfast, i believe, at seven or eight, seven-thirty or eight, for members of congress, republican and democrat, and i can remember saying to them at this breakfast, probably just about the time the first plane hit the world trade center tower, that something was going to hpen in america, in six months, twelve months, eighteen monthths, nobody knows when, that will register in a way that they will want to h have supported sufficient defense
investment in our country. >> the morning of september 11, the darkest day y in american history, came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. it w was a warm, sunny morningg in washington, d.c., just as it wasas in new york cy and all along the easterern seaboard, typical of that time of year when the dog days ug august give way to o a hint of t the cool, crisp air that c comes to rest on the city every fall. most who we therere remember, above all, the clear, b blue sky. almost prophetically, the deep, cloudless blue had an undefinable radiance that many years later remains a hauntingly vivid memory to those who lived through september 11. it was, quite simply, a regulalar tuday morning just likany other, fill with mornining rituals
likevery otheruesd-- gegetting kids off to school, driving toto wor of washington, d.cing traffic hoppinon the metro and hoping to beat thmorning rush. for r some, the rningg was lledith pectancy as they drove to the airport to embark on a long-awaited vacation. young asia cottom, rodney dickens and bernard brown were brimming with excitement as they had been selected from a group of 6th-graders to fly all the way to california with their teachers for a national geographic conference. >> the d was just normal day, andnd bill went off to work, i got the kids to school, and.d... >> she banisished me from driving because she clclaimedd that my driving, i was reckless.. so she drove that morning... >> .....a hug, and he we on, we said we were gonnnna meet at the mall for dinner... >> marjorie salamone worked late the night before and was tired as she kissed her husband ben good-bye
and left for work that tsday morning. >> i noticed that here dress waopen in the e back. and so i looked at that and i just thought, "i wonder if she knows that her dress is open in the back." so i said something to her abobt itnd she said, "oh, yeah i know about it," and i said, "oh, o okay." and i ththink that might have bn the last thing we said, i just don't remember. >> nobody knew what lay ahead. >> man: they turned off the transponder and dove the airplane down to guide it below radar... >> woman: ...on the screen... >> ( sirens wailing ) >> ...we see the first plane hit the first tower. >> man: ...the second tower... >> woman: and then they said, "the pentagogon's been hit." >> womanan: shsaid, it's flight 77, " and then i grabbed her, and then i said, "eddie was on fligight 7"
>> rumsfel ...ananyone in the building felt the impact, it w was so o powerfrful. >> woman: i look in the sky... and i remember that smoke. >> man: ....the pentagon, quite clearly you could see black smoke rising up, it wasust awful. >> bernard salamone: and iaid, "my wife works there," and i hadn't...( choking up )... ...i hadn't heard from her. >> woman: i got out the office roster and started calling people: "have you u hear from anybody?" >> and then next i checked the voicemail, and tre was abo 30 messages on the voicemail, and i started going down, and i was hoping that jan had called, and then when i got down to three, my hope started dwdwindling. >> bush: as long as the united and strong, this will not bed
an age of tyranny. this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. >> americans awoke on september 12, 2001, with the realization that our nation was changed forever. we were living in a new world, with history broken into the pre-9/11 era and the post-9/11 era. >> gen. richard myers: thehere probly wasn't any other event th made us undnderstand as a nation that we're all linked in so many different ways... at we all ay a role in our security, in o our wl-being, in the wl-being of the republic. >> well, 9/11 drove home the point that we are part of the world and can't separate ourselves from it by our oceans, that we have to be engaged in the world, hopefully smartly,
not just militarily, although we must be strong. but also we must be wise, we must engage with others. >> sen. joseph lieberman on 9/11/01 america changed, obviously. we lost about 3,000 of alsoso, in some sense,ost r innocence. >> i think what changed on september 11 for so many americans was the fact that it was brought home, and we realized t vulnenerability that we face. but the purpose of terror, of course, is not to necessarily kill people, although that's part of it; it's to terrorize. the purpose of terrism is to alter people's behehavior, and therefore the most vulnerable people in the world are free people. >> bush: we recognized with absolute clarity that there is an enemy, that has a set of beliefs, that would like to do us harm to achieve
>> ( jet roars orhead ) >> i it all happened here... the poinint of impact. on september 1 11, 2001, a diret attack on american soil signaled the birth of an entirely new world. what followed was a surge in patriotism not seen since pearl harbor, with flags on every street corner and signs posted almost everywhere that proclaimed, "god bless america." enormous benef concerts took place on b both coasts, and america a was left with a new kd of 21st century hero: the first responder. for a time, our deeply divided country was one again.
>> bush: after 9/11, after we resolv that we would defend ourselves, came this great wave ofatriototism,here there's a great sense of pride aboutut what we stood for. i'll never forget going to new york and seeing that-- on the one hand, compassion for their fellow citizens, and for the families that were suffering; on the other hand, this great sensef resolve and determination to stand strong in the face of this enemy. >> a a sense of coming together, i guess, i think is the best way to describe it. it was a sentiment that extended across party lines in the congress, house and senate, democrat and republican pulled together. millions of people visited tse sites in succeeding months, focusesed on them in one way
or another, fofocused on those tsevents, and it was a nationalxperience some extent like pearl harborthat it had that kind of unifying effect on the nation. >> the tragedy of 9/11 pulled america together and showed us what we really shouldld apprecie every day ase squabble politically or there are other divisions in our country, that we're all part of the american family, we s share common value, we share c common dreams for ourselves, o our families, and our country. the e terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 didn't distitinguish between reblicans or democrcrats,r white or black,, or chrisistian, jewish, muslim; their victims s were all of tho, and more. we will lose our strtrength unls we recapture our fundamental
unity as americans; there's nothing more important than that. >> but 9/1sortf brought that out in us, that, "gee, we're all in this together this hurt all of us. this hurwall street, this hurt our mimilitary, this hurus as a natition, it hurt our international friendo who were here with us; it had all these different impacts of all sorts. i think our resolvwas stronger right after 9/11 than probably ev before. although we were uncerertain, se wewere afraid; some pepeopleever ride airplanes anymore, it took fi or sisix years for some businesses to recover from t the impact of 9/11, but the resolve was always pretty clear, and i think k that was felt throughout the majority of our population. >> joyce rumsfeld: facing th reality of what happened and then feeli thetrengtgth of the country and the... how together we ; i mean, thatat's a powerfrful fefeeling.
for those in positions of responsibility, that is a gift, to receive that from your country. >> short after the attacks, the pentntagonenovation team set forth on an ambitious planan to rebuild the pentagon in one year, a dramatic symbol ofur national resolve and a visible reminder that america could not be defeated. but in time, our old divisions took hold again, and many of the flags were put away. as a nation, we moved ck into our own lives, lives somehow changed by 9/11, but no longer dened by the tragedy and our national response to it. but not everybody was able to move on. for some, the tragedy of september 11 is as real today as it was then.
>> lisa dolan: moving on... i don't know why, just for me, "moving on" denotes leaving bob behind, and moving on, going someplace without him. i prefer the term "moving forward" because it doesn't, to me, have the same feel or sound of leaving my husband behind. >> elaine donovan: for us, there is no happy ending; there is noending. it's just, 9 9/11 isis this...
i don't even know how to describe it; it is part of you, if you don't learn to manage it you're not goingng to do well. it never goes away, there will never be a day that i don't think about it, i don't think about bill; there will never be a 9/11 that i can walk through my day and go, "wow, 20 years ago today my husband died." you realize it's just a part of your life, and that's just the way it is. >> narrator: of those who perished at the pentagon on 9/11, only 55 were members of the military. seventy others were civilians working at or visiting the pentagon, and 59 were killed while e flying on american airlines flight 77. for the families of the 18184 men, women and children lo at the pentagon, ththeir ves anand
♪ in one singlele hour ♪ in onsingle day ♪ we were changed forever ♪ something taken away ♪ and there is no f fire ♪ that can melt ♪ this heavy stone ♪ that can bring back ♪ the voices ♪ and the spiririts ♪ of our own ♪ there are no words ♪ there is no song ♪ is there a balm ♪ that can heal these wounds ♪ that will last ♪ a lifetime long ♪ and when the stars ♪ have burned to st
♪ hand in hand ♪ we still will stand ♪ because we must ♪ all the brothers sisteters and lovers ♪ that t are gogone ♪ all the chairs ♪ that will be empty ♪ in n the lives ♪ thahat wi go on ♪ can we everorgive ♪ though wewe neverer will forgt ♪ we believe in theilk ♪f hun goodness yet ♪ there are no word ♪ t theres no song ♪ is there a balm ♪ that can heal these wounds ♪ a lifetime long ♪ have burned to dust
♪ hand in hand ♪ we still will s stand ♪ because we must ♪ we were forged in freedom ♪ we wereorn in liberty ♪ we came here to stop ♪ the twisted arrows ♪ cast by tyranny ♪ and we wowon't bow downwn ♪ we arare strong of heart ♪ we are a chain together ♪ that won't be pulled apart ♪ there are no words ♪ there is no song ♪ is there a balm ♪ that can heal these wounds
middle, and of course, a happy ending. the tragedy of 9/11 doesn't fit into our notions of what makes a good story-- there will never be the modern idea of closure. for some, 9/11 is and will remain very much unresolved. but with this lack of solution, life goes on. as one pentagon family member put it, "life is for the living." the completion of the pentagongh memorial, signs of life can be found everywhere. at its core, the pentagon memorial is a ststory of how a nation takes care of its own. >> wendy ploger: i felt a need to dedicate my energies towards sothing positive, towards something that i think
could alleviate the pain from everyone, including myself. and i just happened to see an ad in the paper; it wasn't an ad, but momore of sort of this ideaf a memorial, and there was a name in the artic, and i e-mailed the person and asked if i could be a part of this in some small way. >> dawn schlegel: i think it was not long after his funeral, and i remembered sort of feeling like, "wow, if there is a possibility to parcipate in something positive, out of all the terrible things that are going on and all the bad feelings," i remember saying, "gee, this might be something to try to contribute in a tiny way." >> james laychak: i want people to remember dave, i want people to know what he was about, and i want people to remember him as a person.
and i want thave a place to go to that i can think about this. >> michael donley: buiuilding a memorial here at the pentagon in honor of those victims, in remerance of the events of septemember 11, and of the signifificance of l that for the pentagon, for this department of defense headquarters, gives this 9/ 11 memorial a very special character. >> narrator: in the weeks following 9/11, the nation wrapped its ms around the families of the victims. as one family mber put it, "among the most amazing things that came out of that terrible tragedy was americans coming together; strangers comforting each other, sking their lives for each other." meg falk was the director of the office of family policy at the time, and was working in
the pentagon when the plane e t on 9/11. in the days and weeks that followed, she played a central role in reaching out to the families in turmoil. >> this a tradition within the military, that whenever we have multiple fatalities we set up a place where families can go to g accurate information, to get support, to have childcare, so that the surviving family members can deal with the busine they need to handle at a horrible time in their lives. >> by the next morning, the family assistance center was up and rurunning at a nearby hote. for the next 30 daysys, the pentagon operated the center around the clock, providing families with meals, support, and most importantly, information. >> bernard salamone: it was wonderful.. i mean, if we asked for something, it was made available to us.
calling cards; how many times did we get calling cards? they must have loaded us up with calling cards. they just didn'tnow what else to do for us. the american people were just extremely kind to us... extremely kind to us. >> it was during the course of those daily family briefings that an idea began to circulate: to builild something good on top of the evil they had experienced; to lay down the foundations for a memorial that would reach long into the future and serve as both a legacy for the living and a means preserving the stories of 9/11 and the memory of those who died. >> at the end of every briefing there was a chance for people to ask questions, and a predominant question that first week, 'cause i started going the 15th of september, was, how are we going to remember this? they started talking about memorializinthis. and i started thinking to myself, "what if five years from
now someone's driving by the pentagon and they can't even remember what side was hit?" >> the very process of coming together proved to be a sour of healing for the families as they struggled to make sense of their new worlds in the aftermath of the horrible tragedy. as the family members began to come forward one by one to support the project, the official c call was put forth r designs for the new pentagon memorial. on june 28, 2002, the group released a mission statement calling upon the country to help determine how to best remember thahat day, and the m, women and children lost at the pentagon. "we ask that you search your souls and envision a memorial that inspires visitors to contemplate what the attack means to them personally, to us as family members, to the community, to the country,
and to the world. visitors should comprehend that our r loved ones were murdered simply because they were living and working in and enjoying the benefits of a free society. the memorial should instill the ideas that patriotism is a moral duty, that freedom comes at arice, and that the victims of this attack have paid the ultimate price. we challenge you," the statement concluded, "toreate a memorial that translates this terrible tragedy into a place of solace, peace, and healing."
hope and inspiration. it is part of the healaling both for the nation and for the families of the 184 men, women and children lost here that day. the memorial represents a nation that, while never forgetting, maintains a conviction to build hope where once there was only despair, peace where once there was only conflict, and a future where once we saw only an ending. >> james laychak: it's an individual memorial, it's a collective memorial, and in a very eloquent way kind of tells a story about what happened there. the family members, when we talked about this, we said we wanted a place that would make people think, but not tell them what to think. >> wendy ploger: we were looking for a deeper meaning. we liked the feeling of going to a place and experiencing it in our own way.
>> narrator: by september 2002, submitted from aund the world for the pentagon memorial. after much review, in february 2003 the jury panel settled on a design by keith kaseman and july beckman, two young architectsrom philadelphia. in time, the design would become america's first national 9/11 memorial, built on the very site of the crash of american airlines flig7. 77. support for the memorial came forth from the entire country.. major american corporations joined hands with key international partners and individual american donors, some of whom gave even a small contribution from savings to see that the attack on the pentagon was never forgotten. at a foundry outside st. louou, missouri, custom molds and metal alloys were created that
would form the 184 individual benches on display throughout the memorial. steel fired at over 000 degrees would ultimately be crafted into individl tributes designed to last for generations to come. as would be expected, evevery detail of the pentagon memorial is deliberate and helps tetell a part of the overall story. >> right off the bat we dedecidd to try to figure out a way to invite interpretation; put enough clues, enough hints and clues into this place that would make one pause for a second, and a place to just contemplatate. ththe act of contemplation at ts place is, in a of itself,, a way to pay respect. >> the memorial consists of 184 individual cantilevered benches perched above
a shimmering pool of water, each bearing a single victim's name. >> a hundred and eighty-four unique individuals lost their lives here going about their daily lives, and we wanted to really emphasize both the individual nate of each ofof those people, as well as the collective nure of the event that took place here. >> the benches themselves are spread across a two-ac plot of lanand, and distributed, according to the age of the victims, across the exact path of american flight 77, into the point where it struck the western wall of the pentagon. eaeach bench ipositioned to tell a story of who each person was and how they died. the nameof those who died inside the pentagon can be read th the rebuilt wall itself in the background, and those
who died on the airplalane face the other direction, and can be viewed with a backdrop of the sky. the entire park is divided by age lines representing the birth years of the victims on 9/11. on either end of the memorial, lone benches represent the youngest, dana falkenberg, who was only three years old at the time, and on the opposite side, the oldest, john yamnicky, who wawas 71. >> the minute you walk over that entrance, you walk over this age line, and it brings you back to 9/11, and... and the first bench you see is dana falkenberg, and she's three years old. and you kind of think, "oh, my gosh, she's a little three-year-old girl.
she died on that day." and then there's a few more benches, a few more chilildren, and then there's this big, emp area, and then there's young men, late twenties, early thirties, and to me, that's hugely powerful. and you walk through there, and first you see the chilen, and then you go, "what is with that?" and then, "what are these lines?" and it gets people thinking about, "why are they spaced this way? oh, this pern is 20, this guy is 35." and then ty notice the benches arfacing a dfent way, and why is that? and then they can figure that out just by walking through the park. but i think the most powful thing is... is just entering the park, stepping over that line that says, "9/1/11, 2001, 9:3:37 a.m"
>> the wisdom of the ages tells us that time is the great healer. perhaps this is one of the mysteries and miracles of life itself, that as the days and months and years roll out, the shock of the tragedy and the intensity of the loss, the unrelenting despair and hopelessness, gives y to remembrance, to renewal, and to hope for the future. >> narrator: within the boundaries of the pentagon memorial, we can read the story not merely of a single terrible day in american history, b but we are remindedf ththe great lessons we canee in each story represented there. for as it so often does, from tragedy has arisen a point off triumph, a recognition of the
enduring human spirit and the reflections of a nation at large. but for all the wisdom gained through the trials of september 11, there is something of a question mark at the end of the story, a qups never be answered with words; rather with an understanding that the pentagon memorial is above all an attempt to make the best of a tragic situation, a quiet understanding that at the heart of the memorial is loss, and that loss is not diminished with time. perhaps when all is said and done, the best our nation can hope for is that through the lives taken on september 11, d the sacrifices of those who builthe pentagon memorial, there is a bigger story and a legacy that can impact us all, and that this single day will not be relegated to htory, that both the loss and the emendous spirit to push
forward will inspire future generations to think of their lives and their freedom a bit more highly than they did before. it was in that spirit that seven years later, on the morning of september 11, 2008, the world was again drawn together on that plot of ground overlooking our nation's capital; this time to dedicate the pentagon memorial. as thousands gathered, and millions across america and around the world watched in solemn remembrance, the new memorial was unveiled. people from all walks of life were there: young and old, rich and poor, government leaders, military leaders, foreign dignitaries, americans from ery social and eththnic group, from big cities and small townwns, visitors young and old from all over the world, all united in purpose
and spirit. the words spoken were those >> he was a great brother and a loyal friend. he was a good man.n. >> words of reflection... >> this mornining we gather to dedicate t this ground where a great building became a battlefield, where stone became dust, ste became shrapnel... where flames, smoke and destruction stole the lives of 184 men, women and children. >> words of hope and inspiration... >> the pentagon memorial will stand as an everlasting tribute to 184 innocent souls who perished on these grounds. the benches here bear each of their names... and beneath each bench is a shimmering pool filled with
the water of life. a memorial can never replace wh those of you mourning a loved one have lost. comfort amid t peacecefind some of these grounds. we pray that you will find strength in knowing that our nation wilill always grieve with you. >> and at the very hour and minute of the tragedy seven years earlier, there were no words at all. throroughout therowds that day of the pentagon, the civilian and military personnel who every day are on duty, dedicating themselves to the defense of america. they were there e on that day in september 2001, they lid thugh it; and they were there on this day seven years later. so, too, in the crowdsere the fafamili of those whose lives
were sacrificed that day, th husbands andives, the sons andaughters, the mothers and d fatherers, for this was really their day, their day to remember, to reflect, and to gain some sense of renewal. because for the familiesthe memoal is above all an assurance that their loved ones will not be forgotten. it is a place they can go for generations to remember and reflect, and perhaps on me quiet evening, long after the crowds have returned home and when the cameras have been put away, a place they can sit quietly and somehow find a measure of comfort in the presence of those they miss so much. that's what the pentagon memorial is all about.